Corporate hospitality is one thing, but the perception of bribery is quite another. So how can you get to spend quality time getting to know a prospect and finding out what you might be able to do for them if you can’t offer to take them to dinner? It is, after all, only a courteous gesture, isn’t it? As a sales professional, you only need to look at the role profiles being advertised by sales recruitment agencies in the West Midlands to see that the ability to build new relationships with potential clients is a key competency required. In order to be able to do that, there are going to be times when you need to meet one to one in order to get any quality time to talk. However, the contacts you need to be building relationships with are the decision makers and the purchasers, who will be very busy people. You may find that the only time you can get a moment with them is when they need to stop to eat. So it is only natural if you want to take some of that time from them, then you would offer to buy them lunch or dinner. While you are researching companies and the contacts you want to make, you should also research what the company’s policies are regarding the acceptance of gifts. You will want to courteous if you are asking for someone to give you their valuable time by offering to pay for the lunch. However, you will not want to put yourself or your client in a compromising position by enticing them to a meeting with an offer they can’t refuse or winning their favour with generous gifts. Don’t be afraid to be open about your activities and even ask the company in question if your chosen approach fits with their ethos and working practices. Always make sure you know what the guidelines are and don’t break them. You may find that it is mostly public-sector bodies that have the strictest guidelines, but never assume that private companies are not operating with the same processes. Reputation is important in the modern world, so you will find more companies being protective of their image, which includes public perceptions of how they do business. To learn a company’s approach to supplier engagement, look at how they advertise their supplier opportunities. Holding open and public procurement processes, where suppliers submit bids, can be an indication that the company wants to be seen to be fair and equitable in its approach to selecting suppliers. The goal is to ensure that contracts have been awarded to the supplier best able to do the work and not to hand out work on the basis of who you know or who has promised something. If you are looking for your next sales role and don’t want to worry that your genuine approaches for relationship building may be seen as compromising, then speak to sales recruitment agencies in the West Midlands. They will be able to help you choose a sector to work within where corporate hospitality is welcomed, and indeed is appreciated, as the way business is done.